July 29

Put some new stepper drivers in. Still no motion. Must be the power supply.

Good news is, have a job offer. Give me a minute, and I’m probably just going to upgrade the electronics and get a new machine.

If I fix the parts I have, possibly could use it to start putting together another printer. I want a ceramic printer and a chocolate printer.

As for the new machine, I definitely want a tall delta model. I haven’t picked which one yet.


RC Car project update

I have finally been given permission to share the name of Ben Morgan’s RC Car project, the DrivebyPi. I am still politely refraining from oversharing too many details until the prospective start-up is more established (i.e. after the Kickstarter launches), but his RC Car now successfully streams video to the Android app, and can be driven around from the app’s interface. He’s gotten the Makerbot Replicator back in shape and has printed out his nerf dart launcher design.  Soon my pan tilt mechanism will be printed and I’m super excited!

Here is a video demonstration of progress thus far.


The clog did not push out with just plastic, so I disassembled the extruder a bit and used a coat hanger on it…. then pushed the plastic in to be sure. It also required heating up to ABS temperature to get out.


Splat! The clog is that golden/brown substance there. The hot material actually splashed me, but it only stung, I’m not burned or anything. In the future I might consider long sleeves though…

I don’t know how often this happens, but I wonder if there is a solution that would dissolve this substance but not have an effect on the PTFE. Such a substance would be useful, and I feel that this way of remedying the situation put way more mechanical stress on my machine than I would like…. But to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what that stuff is….

Regarding the other problem to be solved, I noticed that the part that attaches the z axis rod to the z axis motor was kind of cracking. I have a back-up/upgraded part for that but it is at a friend’s house so I will wait until I get that before I fix the Z.

In the meantime, I’m going to start on my web design projects. I’ve happily found recreation for my breaks as well: the new Cosmos documentary and Khan Academy’s Asian Art.

What’s going on with the RepRap?

The z axis is not moving smoothly, the thermistor popped off during the move, and it is still clogged.

Checked the end stop statuses though, all working well. The extruder and bed still heat up as they should and the x and y is moving fine and at appropriate distances.

First, I’m going to go ahead and fix the thermistor, heat it up, and hopefully unclog it.

Then I will see if I just need to send more current to that z axis….

Then we’re back to calibrating again!


Link to information about the AMF standard

Link to information about the AMF standard

Today, I read a bit of an excellent book, Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing. I recommend this book to people newly interested in the topic, because it is accessible to those who have only heard of 3D printing; but it can also benefit anyone wanting a thorough understanding of the implications of 3D printing. It’s an excellent survey of what we learned about printing in 2013.

STL files represent tessellated meshes convertible into “G-code commands”, those which are directly translatable by a 3D printer as actions, such as x-y-z motions, stopping, or heating up. These files are purposefully limited in their capacity because of memory concerns of 90s technology. Examples of these limitations include being unable to distinguish different colors or different materials. The book mentions that memory concerns are what make it difficult to currently model something as complex as the different materials circulating in a living human hand.

Hexagon and Triangle Inscribed Inside a Dodecahedron

AMF standard is an attempt to handle complex objects, microstructures, and repetitions that is backwards compatible with STL. While the flat triangles of the STL’s tessellated mesh structure sometimes scale poorly for high-resolution curved surface modeling, in these cases, AMF curves the lines of the tessellations.

If you’ve had a calculus class, you know that you can approximate a circle by using increasingly sided shapes. Consider the results of the same exercise with curved lines instead of straight ones, or see the explanation in the link above starting on page 31. These curved lines are basically created using tangents, and if you’d like more of that information, click the link above and navigate to page 59.